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Found 106 results

  1. The engine of Peshawar-bound Khushal Khan Khattak Express derailed near Attock City Railway Station. Photo: Geo News screen grab ATTOCK: The engine of Peshawar-bound Khushal Khan Khattak Express derailed near Attock City Railway Station, Geo News reported Thursday morning. After the engine derailed, the train was stopped and safety of bogies was ensured, said railway authorities. The train, which was carrying more than 300 passengers, had departed from Karachi, according to the railway authorities. The derailment led to delays and disruptions on the railway track near Attock. On April 17, Quetta-bound Jaffar Express derailed near Aimanabad in Gujranwala. ?The passenger train derailed from the tracks, following which five bogies overturned,? a Geo News staffer M Nadeem said. As many as 25 people, including women and children, were injured in the accident. The train's engine and three passenger coaches remained on the track while seven were derailed. Quetta-bound Jaffar Express derails near Gujranwala, five bogies overturn No casualties were reported According to railway authorities, repair work was on-going on the track since the past two days. Pakistan Army troops and rescue teams have reached the site and rescue work is currently under way. Before the arrival of the teams, the passengers had engaged in self-help activities, according to Nadeem. The railway authorities had also dispatched a train to take the passengers of Jaffar Express to Lahore. The passengers will be served food when they reach Lahore, said Pakistan Railways CEO Javed Anwar.
  2. A helicopter drops water over a house on the hilltop in Bel Air, east of the 405 freeway heading north in Los Angeles, California, US, December 6, 2017. AFP/Frederic J. Brown LOS ANGELES: An inferno engulfed the Los Angeles region Wednesday, forcing more than 200,000 people to evacuate and threatening thousands of homes, including the luxe Bel-Air neighbourhood dotted with mansions. The flames have swallowed some 80,000 acres (32,000 hectares) in just over a day since the "Thomas" fire ? currently, the state's largest ? broke out, leaving at least one dead in an area about 45 minutes from downtown LA. High winds caused another wave of wildfires to erupt overnight, including one in Los Angeles' affluent Bel-Air neighbourhood. The area battled gridlocked heavy traffic as ash and smoke churned over the smouldering hillside. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said more than 230,000 people had evacuated Los Angeles and Ventura counties. "Very strong winds" blowing from the northeast to the southwest were causing the fire to balloon, he said, warning Angelenos to be ready to evacuate at a moment's notice. "These are days that break your heart but also days that shows the resilience of our city," he said. The "Skirball" fire ignited before 5 am (1300 GMT) and quickly grew to engulf some 150 acres, with forecasters predicting that 40 kilometre-per-hour (25 mile-per-hour) winds could cause further spreading, threatening multi-million dollar homes and the acclaimed Getty Center museum. The Skirball fire ? near a cultural centre of the same name and captured in apocalyptic images ? also prompted authorities to close the 405 Freeway, a major commuting corridor famous for its traffic congestion. A cloud of black smoke was creeping across the city with a large, dark column rising into the air, leaving authorities concerned about the poor quality of air that was unbreathable in some places. Flames menacing art The acclaimed Getty arts institution ? home to masterpieces including "The Spring" by Edouard Manet ? was closed until at least Thursday, with museum authorities tweeting that "air filtration systems are protecting the galleries from smoke." Television footage showed the Bel-Air neighbourhood home to celebrities and billionaires, where both entrepreneur Elon Musk and pop superstar Beyonce own property. In 1961, a fire consumed 500 homes in the hillside district. Dozens of schools were closed Wednesday, as was Santa Monica College. Just north of Ventura County, the Thomas blaze continued unabated, after erupting in the hills of oak and scrub north of Santa Paula, powered by strong seasonal guests known as Santa Ana winds. The area was clogged with thick black smoke, forcing mandatory evacuations, road closures and school cancellations. Fire departments from across the state had arrived to help battle the ferocious wildfires, as heavy winds expected to continue through Thursday complicated their struggle to contain the flames. The National Weather Service predicted "extremely critical fire weather", saying wind gusts could hit 70 miles per hour in some areas. Authorities warned that winds will likely remain strong until Friday. State of emergency Firefighters were also on the scene of the Rye fire ? which had grown to 7,000 acres in the Santa Clarita area ? as well as the Creek fire north of downtown Los Angeles that had grown to more than 11,000 acres. California Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency over the area Tuesday, announcing: "This fire is very dangerous and spreading rapidly. "It's critical residents stay ready and evacuate immediately if told to do so." The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) said it had released funds for relief services. US President Donald Trump tweeted a message of "thoughts and prayers" to California as it nears the end of its deadliest year ever for wildfires. "I encourage everyone to heed the advice and orders of local and state officials," the president said on Twitter. "THANK YOU to all First Responders for your incredible work!"
  3. Catalonia's sacked vice president Oriol Junqueras and three other separatist leaders will remain in prison during a probe over their role in the region's independence drive, a Spanish judge decided Monday, as critical Catalan elections approach. Six other former ministers who were also remanded in custody last month were released on bail of 100,000 euros ($119,000) each as an investigation into charges of rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds continues, the Madrid court said in a statement. The bail was paid by a major grassroots secessionist group, the Catalan Nationalist Assembly. It called for protests on Monday night in cities across Catalonia for the release of the other prisoners detained in a political crisis that has rattled Europe. Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont meanwhile attended an extradition hearing on Monday in Belgium. He escaped there, claiming he would not get a fair trial at home, after his region's parliament declared independence on October 27. Spain is seeking to have Puigdemont and four of his former ministers who fled with him sent back to face charges over their role in the independence drive. The Belgian judge will decide on December 14 whether to uphold the European arrest warrant, their lawyers said after the hearing. 'Keep voters mobilised' The ruling that Junqueras, former regional interior minister Joaquim Forn and two civil society leaders must stay in prison came as the official campaign for Catalan elections on December 21 was due to kick off at midnight. Madrid called the new elections after the independence declaration, while dismissing Catalonia's government and suspending the region's autonomy. After receiving a request to free the 10 Catalan leaders, Supreme Court Judge Pablo Llarena decided there was a risk that Junqueras and three others would repeat their alleged offences if released. But Marta Rovira, Junqueras's deputy in his ERC party, said the decision was politically motivated. He was staying in prison "because they know he is the best candidate," she claimed. Madrid hopes the elections will restore normality to the wealthy northeastern region, which declared independence in vain following the referendum. Puigdemont, Junqueras and other former ministers are candidates for the elections, despite being in exile or prison. Separatist parties have repeatedly accused Madrid of taking "political prisoners" and "repression," and the decision to keep some Catalan leaders in jail is likely to magnify those claims. Teneo Intelligence analyst Antonio Barroso said the decision to keep the four separatist leaders in jail "will certainly help the separatists to focus their messaging on the alleged repression by Spanish authorities, rather than on any prospective policy issues." "The hope is that this will keep separatist voters mobilised, as low turnout motivated by exhaustion with the pro-independence process is the main fear of separatist parties," he added. Separatists' poll decline Catalans remain deeply split on independence, and several polls suggest pro-secession parties might struggle to win enough seats to form a new regional government. A poll carried out in November by the central government's influential Sociological Research Centre (CIS) predicted that the three pro-independence parties would get only up to 67 parliamentary seats out of 135, just under the absolute majority of 68. The poll showed parties that back Spanish unity would capture 68-69 seats. Puigdemont launched his campaign last month from Brussels with a flurry of high-profile media appearances and a demand that he be returned as the "legitimate" president of Catalonia. His lawyer said at the weekend that Puigdemont would remain in Belgium until after the Catalan elections. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and fellow opponents of Catalan independence, meanwhile, have hitched their hopes on a record turnout on December 21 to return a legislature in favour of unity with Spain.
  4. Police vehicles parked near the Christmas market in Potsdam after a suspicious object prompted its evacuation. -AFP BERLIN: German police on Friday found an "explosive" containing nails close to a Christmas market in Potsdam, reviving fears of a repeat of last year´s terror attack that struck at the height of the festive season. The device was uncovered in a package found at a pharmacy just off the Christmas market in central Potsdam, a picturesque city near Berlin that was once a residence for the kings of Prussia. Police said a pharmacist had sounded the alert after finding a canister with wires inside the package. "Suspicions of an unconventional explosive device have been confirmed," police in Brandenburg state said on Twitter. "There were apparently not only nails but also powder in the canister, and that must be investigated, could it be plaster, or something that doesn´t explode or is it something explosive," said Brandenburg interior minister Karl-Heinz Schroeter. He added that investigators were unlikely to be able to give "binding results" on the device today. After clearing parts of the city centre and Christmas market, bomb disposal units defused the device shortly before 6pm. "It's not easy when you're on the scene, we're shocked," Christmas market organiser Peter Klemm told broadcaster NTV. "But the people here understand what's going on and take the measures very seriously." High alert Germany has been on high alert for possible militant attacks after last December's deadly assault at a Christmas market in central Berlin. The attacker, Tunisian asylum seeker Anis Amri, hijacked a truck and murdered its Polish driver before killing another 11 people and wounding dozens more by ploughing the heavy vehicle through the festive market in the centre of the city. He was shot dead by Italian police in Milan four days later while on the run. Germany has since been targeted again in attacks with terror motives. In July 2017, a 26-year-old Palestinian asylum seeker wielding a knife stormed into a supermarket in the northern port city of Hamburg, killing one person and wounding six others before being detained by passers-by. And at the end of October, German police arrested a 19-year-old Syrian identified only as Yamen A. suspected of planning a "serious bomb attack" using powerful explosives. Daesh also claimed responsibility for a number of attacks in 2016, including the murder of a teenager in Hamburg, a suicide bombing in the southern city of Ansbach that wounded 15, and an axe attack on a train in Bavaria that left five injured. Germany remains a target for militant groups, in particular because of its involvement in the coalition fighting Daesh in Iraq and Syria, and its deployment in Afghanistan since 2001. German troops in the anti-Daesh coalition do not participate in combat operations but support it through reconnaissance, refuelling and training. Germany's security services estimate there are around 10,000 radicals in Germany, some 1,600 of whom are suspected of being capable of using violence. Chancellor Angela Merkel has also come under fire for allowing in more than one million asylum seekers in the past two years, with the decision fueling the rise of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which claims the influx spells a heightened security risk.
  5. COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa shaking hand with an officer during his visit to Pak -Afghan border in Bajur Agency. Photo: ISPR RAWALPINDI: The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa on Wednesday visited the Pak-Afghan border near Bajaur Agency, the Inter-Services Public Relations Department (ISPR) said. The army chief was briefed on the security measures, including the construction of new posts and border-fencing, on the Pak-Afghan border and measures taken to stop militancy waged by terrorists from across the border. General Bajwa, in Peshawar, also met with scholars in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). The COAS praised the scholars' role in the war against terrorism, the military's media wing said. The scholars of FATA and KP, too, jointly denounced terrorism and pledged allegiance to the security forces for their efforts to establish peace and stability in the country. "Pakistan, without any differentiation of colour, race, religion, ethnicity or sect, belongs to all of its citizens," General Bajwa said, according to the ISPR.
  6. File Photo KARACHI: At least eight people died and seven were injured when an allegedly overspeeding passenger van crashed into a truck Monday night here in Nooriabad on its way from the city to Naushahro Feroze. Of the deceased, seven belonged to the same family and the eighth person was the van driver. Four of those killed were women. It is yet unclear what condition the wounded are in and which hospital(s) they were shifted to.
  7. RIO DE JANEIRO/SAO PAULO: A senior US diplomat in Brazil was shot in the foot during an attempted robbery on a highway near Rio de Janeiro, highlighting surging violence in Rio state where an economic crisis has drained public resources. Police said in a statement on Friday that the vice-consul was taken from the scene near Angra dos Reis to the Hospital Samaritano in the state capital to undergo surgery. Press representatives at the US Embassy in Brazil did not immediately respond to questions about the incident, which newspaper O Globo said happened on Thursday night. A US State Department spokesperson confirmed that ?a consulate official suffered non-life-threatening injuries in an incident involving gunfire? and the case is under investigation. The diplomat and her husband had pulled over on the side of coastal highway BR-101 ? which links up some of Brazil?s most popular beaches ? when they were approached by unidentified individuals, O Globo reported. As the couple sped away the assailants fired two shots at their vehicle, one of which hit the diplomat?s foot, Globo reported, citing the account of a federal police officer. The attack coincides with a rising tide of violence in Rio, where Brazil?s deepest recession on record, a downturn in the local oil industry and a string of political corruption scandals have paralyzed many public services and compounded social ills. President Michel Temer has deployed thousands of army soldiers in recent months to help patrol the slums of Rio?s capital, but it has had little effect on the violence.
  8. The Argentine navy raised the possibility on Thursday that a navy submarine missing in the South Atlantic suffered an explosion, heightening concerns over the fate of the 44 crew members. An abnormal sound detected underwater by an international agency on the morning of Nov. 15, around the time that the ARA San Juan sent its last signal and in the same area, was ?consistent with an explosion,? navy spokesman Enrique Balbi told reporters. The navy did not have enough information to say what the cause of the explosion could have been or whether the vessel might have been attacked, Balbi said. He was commenting on information the navy received on Thursday from the Comprehensive nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), an international body that runs a global network of listening posts designed to check for secret atomic blasts. The Vienna-based agency, which has monitoring stations equipped with devices including underwater microphones that scan the oceans for sound waves, said in a statement that two of its stations had detected an unusual signal near where the submarine went missing. But the agency was more guarded about whether this was caused by an explosion. A huge sea and air hunt is being conducted for the San Juan, a German-built, diesel-electric powered submarine that was launched in 1983, as crew members? relatives wait anxiously for news more than a week after the vessel disappeared. The relatives, camped out in a naval base in the coastal city of Mar del Plata, have been largely optimistic until now, but they shed tears and insulted authorities after being briefed on the news of the possible explosion. They were told about it before the public announcement. Balbi said that the news of the abnormal sound was consistent with a separate report received Wednesday of an ?acoustic anomaly? in the same area and around the same time. The San Juan was some 430 km (270 miles) off the Patagonian coast when it sent its last signal. ?This is very important because it allows us to correlate and confirm the acoustic anomaly from the US report yesterday,? Balbi said. ?Here, we?re talking about a singular, short, violent, non-nuclear event, consistent with an explosion.? In Vienna, CTBTO hydroacoustic engineer Mario Zampolli said the signal his agency had detected, ?could be consistent with an explosion but there is no certainty about this.? Speaking to Reuters, he agreed with Balbi?s description of the signal as unusual and short, adding that the cause was non-natural. The submarine was en route from Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, to Mar del Plata, some 400 km (250 miles) south of Buenos Aires, when it reported an electrical malfunction shortly before disappearing. The vessel had seven days of oxygen supply, meaning the crew would be running low if it had not been able to surface. HOPE FADING The news of the possible explosion prompted some family members to fear the worst, and many criticized the authorities? response to the crisis. ?They kept us here for a week. Why did they not tell us?? Itati Leguizamon, the wife of a crew member. ?I do not have any more hope, it is over.? Some relatives have questioned authorities for letting the crew navigate on an ageing submarine - criticism that has highlighted the armed forces? dwindling resources since the end of a military dictatorship in the 1980s. Authorities have said the level of maintenance, not the age, was what mattered, and that the vessel was in good condition. It received a major mid-life upgrade in 2009, in which its four diesel engines and electric propeller engines were replaced, according to specialist publication Jane?s Sentinel. Earlier on Thursday, a US embassy spokeswoman said an object detected by a US Navy plane near the area where the submarine sent its last signal turned out not to be the missing vessel. The plane, a P-8A Poseidon, was one of dozens of Argentine and foreign boats and planes involved in the hunt.
  9. ISLAMABAD: Corps Commander Lahore Lieutenant General Amir Riaz on Thursday inspected military exercise held at Tilla Jogian near Jhelum, the military's media wing said. According to the ISPR statement issued earlier today, Lt General Riaz directed troops to further enhance their operational exercises. The exercises are repeated every winter under collective training. Earlier this week, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa visited Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Mushaf airbase and witnessed the ongoing multinational exercise at the recently established Air Power Centre of Excellence (ACE). The exercise, ACES meet 2017, had the participation of the Royal Saudi Air Force and the Turkish Air Force, with observers from eight other countries. The two-week long exercise started on October 16, ISPR said. The army chief was briefed on the ACE facility and the scope of the exercise, which is aimed at mutual cooperation between air forces and to consolidate upon modern concepts in the domain of counter-terrorism, added ISPR.
  10. [embed_video1 url= style=center] KARACHI: A killer whale was spotted near Churna Island making it the first time ever the marine mammal has been sighted in the region, according to World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan. In a tweet, WWF-Pakistan shared a video of the orca near Churna Island. The tweet read: "@WWFPak trained fisherman Muhammad Muneeb recorded the first ever sighting of #Orca, commonly known as killer #whales in #Pakistan, yesterday. The pod of 3 whales was spotted about 50 km southwest of Churna Island, feeding on a school of #queenfish. #SaveOurSpecies" The killer whale is considered the most powerful predator on earth and has been reported on only a few occasions from Oman and the Persian Gulf, said the WWF-Pakistan. The description added: Orca "is rarely found in the northern ArabianSea. No authentic record of this species is known from Pakistani waters up till now." Moreover, a whale shark was spotted about 10 nautical miles from Karachi harbour on Saturday, the WWF-Pakistan said. Contrary to its name, the whale shark is not a whale. It is a fish. In fact, it is the largest fish in the world. It can grow up to a length of 60 feet. The fish is mostly found in open waters of the tropical oceans.
  11. A magnitude 7.3 quake struck on Monday near New Caledonia in the South Pacific, the US Geological Survey said. The quake, originally measured at 7.2, was centred 42 miles (68 km) east-northeast of Tadine, Loyalty Islands, at a depth of 15.5 miles (25 km), the USGS said. New Caledonia is a French territory, made up a series of islands. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre said in a statement that a destructive Pacific-wide tsunami was not expected and there was no tsunami threat to Hawaii.
  12. A whale shark was spotted about 10 nautical miles from Karachi harbour, according to World Wild Fund for Nature-Pakistan. In a Facebook post on Saturday, the organisation shared an image of the whale shark. The post read: "An independent observer spotted a whale shark, 10 nautical miles from Karachi Harbour. Do you know that this incredible species has seen its numbers plummet by 50% over the last 75 years?" Contrary to its name, the whale shark is not a whale. It is a fish. In fact, it is the largest fish in the world. It can grow up to a length of 60 feet. The fish is mostly found in open waters of the tropical oceans.
  13. Pictured is the ill-fated car. ? Geo News MURREE: Six members of a family died after a car plunged into a ravine near Murree Sunday evening, rescue sources said. The incident occurred in Bangara village, rescue sources said, adding the deceased included four minors. They were identified as Haji Asif, his son Faisal Abbasi, and four grandsons. The bodies were shifted to a local hospital for further formalities.
  14. Syrians view the scene of destruction following reported shelling by Syrian government forces in the rebel-held town of Douma, eastern Ghouta region, Syria, November 17, 2017. AFP/Hamza Al-Ajweh DOUMA: Shelling by the Syrian regime on the rebel-held area of Eastern Ghouta near Damascus Friday killed at least 19 civilians, among them six children, a monitor said. The deaths came amid an escalating cycle of tit-for-tat attacks between regime forces and rebels holding the enclave on the Syrian capital's eastern outskirts. Rebel shelling on Friday killed three civilians. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 52 civilians have been killed since Tuesday, most of them in Eastern Ghouta, which has been besieged since 2013 and where humanitarian conditions are dire. Thirteen people ? including five children and three emergency workers ? were killed in regime shelling and air strikes in Douma, the Eastern Ghouta area's main town, Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP. Elsewhere in Eastern Ghouta, another six people were killed in regime air strikes, the monitor said. On Tuesday, the Ahrar al-Sham group ? that has positions in Harasta ? attacked a regime military base in the area, which is supposed to be a "de-escalation zone" under a deal between Russia, Iran, and Turkey to ease the level of violence. The fighting on that front has left at least 37 dead on the regime side, according to the Observatory, a toll the regime has not confirmed. Abdel Rahman said "dozens" of rebels were also killed. In a hospital in Douma, doctors and nurses were treating a continuous flow of the wounded as the sounds of crying children echoed through the facility, an AFP correspondent said. An elderly man with greying hair sought to calm a little girl in tears, her clothes covered in blood, while the bodies of three children killed in the strikes lay inert on a metal table. Two other injured children sat on a bench, silent, their eyes wide, apparently still in shock. One had a bandaged foot. Another wounded person had a bandage wrapped around his head, but blood had soaked through it. On a white hospital bed, Abu Hisham's face contorted in pain as he called out to his wife and children, who had been killed. "Iman, where are the children?" he cried. In retaliation for the latest deadly Ghouta shelling, rebels fired rockets into Damascus on Friday, killing three civilians, the same source said. Six were killed the previous day, including Syria's national karate coach Fadel Radi, who died of his wounds after being hit by shrapnel as he left his Damascus sports club, the state-run SANA news agency reported. More than 330,000 people are estimated to have been killed in the Syrian war, which began in 2011 as the regime brutally crushed anti-government protests. Millions have been displaced.
  15. LONDON: Bitcoin hit an all-time high just below $8,000 (£6,060) on Friday, on talk that a software upgrade whose suspension sent the cryptocurrency into a tailspin at the end of last week was, after all, going ahead within hours. Talk that the upgrade - which could split or ?fork? bitcoin into two versions - would go ahead was driven by a statement on the website of Coinbase, the world?s largest bitcoin company with operations in 32 countries. ?The Bitcoin Segwit2x fork is expected to occur in the next six hours,? it said in a statement published at 1004 GMT. If a bitcoin clone were created, any holders would also in theory instantly become owners of the new spin-off. Bitcoin, generally highly volatile, has been on a particularly wild ride, sliding at the end of last week to as low as $5,555 after plans for Segwit2x were suspended, before bouncing more than 40 percent since Sunday. It reached as high as $7,997 in early Asian trading on the Luxembourg-based Bitstamp exchange BTC=BTSP, before easing back a touch to trade broadly flat by 1115 GMT at $7,863. Market-watchers said speculation about the fork was driving bitcoin higher. If it went ahead as expected, holders of the cryptocurrency would be able to sell the spin-off at a profit if the market were to assign it any value. But in a post on the Medium blogging platform, the company?s communications director David Farmer said Coinbase did not expect the fork to successfully split bitcoin in two, as it lacked the necessary support from the network to do so. ?Whenever people hear ?fork? nowadays the price jumps, as people hope to get the free dividend,? said Charles Hayter, founder of cryptocurrency data analysis site Cryptocompare. ?There is also a resulting spike in demand for people entering bitcoin? from other cryptocurrencies. Farmer said the company was actively monitoring the situation and that all funds stored in Coinbase wallets remained safe. All bitcoin buying and selling would be suspended on Coinbase in the hour prior to the fork, which is expected between 1400 and 1600 GMT. Bitcoin is on track for its best week since July. For the year, it is up more than 700 percent.
  16. JAKARTA/TIMIKA: Indonesia on Friday began evacuating villages that authorities said had been occupied by armed separatists after a string of shootings near the giant Grasberg copper mine operated by Freeport McMoRan Inc in the eastern province of Papua. Two police have been killed and at least 12 people have been wounded by gunfire in the area since mid-August. Police have blamed an ?armed criminal group?, but others have said the gunmen were linked to separatist rebels. Indonesian police officer killed in shooting near Freeport mine TIMIKA: An Indonesian police officer was killed and a second wounded after being shot in an area near Freeport-McMoRan Inc?s giant Grasberg copper mine in the eastern province of Papua, a police... According to police reports, the armed group occupied the villages of Banti and Kimbely near the mining town of Tembagapura, and had prevented an estimated 1,300 residents from leaving the area, leading to food shortages. Police and military leaders said they have urged the gunmen to surrender, but have also warned that tough measures could follow if their ?persuasive? approach fails. Residents were being evacuated to a sports hall in Tembagapura, according to a source at Freeport. Vehicles used for transporting workers to the Grasberg copper mine are seen at the Gorong-Gorong terminal. REUTERS Mimika Deputy Regent Yohanes Bassang asked families in Timika to accommodate relatives being evacuated from the villages ?to avoid further problems?. Bassang said many of the villagers were from the east Indonesian island of Sulawesi and had come to the area to pan for gold. The separatist West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN-OPM), a group linked to the Free Papua Movement, has claimed responsibility for the shootings and declared war against the military, police and Freeport, but denied it was holding villagers hostage. According to several residents interviewed by Reuters, military and police officers were preventing them from getting food from Tembagapura, where food aid was delivered in a cargo container on Saturday. ?The atmosphere has really heated up,? one resident said, referring to the shootings and concerns over food supplies and safety.
  17. KARACHI: At least two brothers were reported injured near Hassan Square area of Karachi after dacoits opened fire during an attempted robbery in the wee hours of Friday. According to eyewitnesses, the car met an accident before the firing incident occurred. The passenger opened fire on dacoits while resisting the attempted robbery, said an eyewitness. The injured were identified as brothers Ismail and Sohail. Both the injured were shifted to Abbasi Shaheed Hospital. Police are further investigating the actual cause of firing, whether it was personal animosity or resistance to a robbery attempt.
  18. Indonesian security forces carry the body of a police officer who was shot and killed near Freeport-McMoRan Inc's giant Grasberg copper mine, during his funeral in Timika, Papua province Indonesia November 15, 2017. Photo: REUTERS JAKARTA: An Indonesian police officer was killed and a second wounded on Wednesday, after both were shot in the back in an area near Freeport-McMoRan Inc?s giant Grasberg copper mine in the eastern province of Papua, police said. The officers were patrolling an area close to where a Freeport vehicle was targeted in a shooting on Tuesday, Papua police spokesman Suryadi Diaz said in a statement. A helicopter flew the men to a hospital in the nearby lowland city of Timika. The main access road to Grasberg remained closed, Freeport Indonesia spokesman Riza Pratama said, referring to a 79-mile (127-km) stretch from Timika to the mining town of Tembagapura that runs near a river rich with gold tailings from the mine upstream. A string of at least 15 separate shooting incidents in the area since mid-August that wounded at least 12 people and killed two police officers has been blamed by police on an ?armed criminal group?, but linked to separatist rebels by others. In a statement, the separatist West Papua National Liberation Army (TPN-OPM), a group linked to the Free Papua Movement, claimed responsibility for Wednesday?s incident. The group has said it is at war with police, military and Freeport. EMERGENCY MEASURES For decades, there have been sporadic attacks along the road where the shootings took place, but authorities? efforts to catch the perpetrators have been hampered by thick surrounding jungle. ?The Indonesian Military (TNI) and police have urged the Armed Separatist Movement in Papua to surrender, but until now no one has turned themselves in,? Indonesian military chief Gatot Nurmantyo said in a statement. ?Armed separatists cannot be left alone,? he said, adding that reining in such activities was the domain of the military, which was preparing ?emergency measures? in case persuasive approaches by the police and military failed. Papua has had a long-running, and sometimes violent, separatist movement since the province was incorporated into Indonesia after a widely criticised 1969 UN-backed referendum. Foreign journalists have in the past required special permission to report in Papua, and once there, have had security forces restrict their movement and work. President Joko Widodo has pledged to make the region more accessible to foreign media by inviting reporters on government-sponsored trips, although coverage remains difficult.
  19. TIMIKA: An Indonesian police officer was killed and a second wounded after being shot in an area near Freeport-McMoRan Inc?s giant Grasberg copper mine in the eastern province of Papua, a police spokesman said. The officers were shot near Tembagapura early on Wednesday, Papua police spokesman Suryadi Diaz said. There has been a string of shooting incidents since mid-August that have wounded at least eight people and killed two police officers. They have been blamed by police on an ?armed criminal group? but linked to separatist rebels by others.
  20. Refinery plants of Chambroad Petrochemicals are seen in Boxing, Shandong Province, China, May 10, 2016. REUTERS/Meng Meng/Files NEW YORK: Oil prices held steady in a tight range Monday after briefly testing lower, with support from Middle East tensions and record long bets by fund managers balanced by rising US production. Brent crude futures settled down 36 cents, or 0.6 percent, at $63.16 a barrel while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures settled up 2 cents a barrel at $56.76. Last week, Brent rose to $64.65, its highest since June 2015, and WTI hit $57.92, its highest since July 2015. Middle East tensions have supported the market, despite concerns that output could rise further. ?The rise by Saudi Arabia to produce more than 10 million barrels per day would have registered more,? John Kilduff Partner ?at Again Capital ? said. ?This is a new level of geopolitical risk,? he said. Additionally, the market has less supply overhang than it did a year ago, he said. On the supply side, tensions in the Middle East raised the prospect of disruptions, traders said. A purge this month of Saudi Arabia?s leadership by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is one of the key factors raising concerns about the political stability of the region?s largest oil producer. Other regional concerns include the war in Yemen and growing tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran is a concern to investors too. Additionally, traders said it was unclear whether a strong earthquake that hit Iran and Iraq on Sunday had affected the region?s oil production. Bahrain said at the weekend that an explosion that caused a fire at its main oil pipeline on Friday was caused by sabotage, linking the attack to Iran, which denied any role. Traders said crude prices were well supported as output cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and Russia have contributed to a reduction in excess supply that had dogged markets since 2014. OPEC forecast higher demand for its oil in 2018 and said its production-cutting deal with rival producers was reducing excess oil in storage, pointing to an even tighter global market next year. However, it also pointed out that Saudi output had risen above 10 million barrels per day. The level of inventories held by industrialized above the five-year average ?has fallen by more than 50 percent in 2017, with inventories currently at around 160 million barrels,? consultancy Timera Energy said. ?If current trends continue, inventories are likely to return to the five-year average at some stage in 2018,? it said, adding that strong demand had also helped reduce the glut. OPEC has sought to push stocks to the five-year average. Hedge funds and other money managers raised their bullish wagers on US crude futures and options positions in the week to Nov. 7, data showed on Monday. The speculator group raised its combined futures and options position in New York and London by 37,960 contracts to 381,666 during the period, the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) said. That maintained the highest level since mid-April. Hedge funds also increased holdings of Brent futures and options in the latest week, extending their bet on a rally to the highest on record. Managers now hold net long positions equivalent to nearly 544 million barrels of oil. ?Overall, there are a few reasons for confidence ? compliance from OPEC ? and it seems likely they?ll extend the cut,? Jasper Lawler ? a market strategist at London Capital Group ? said, referring to the output deal due to expire in March. US producers added nine oil rigs last week, the biggest jump since June, raising the count to 738, energy services firm Baker Hughes said on Friday. The rig count fell in August, September, and October, but last week?s rise was the second in three weeks, indicating that the US oil industry was comfortable operating at current prices.
  21. How would you feel if someone gives you the opportunity to be the king or the queen of a particular area? Even if it's a strip of land, it would still feel pretty cool, right? Hell, it's a childhood dream of most of us. However, majority of us have accepted the fact that this dream is most likely to remain unfulfilled. via GIPHY But as it turns out, one of us didn't give up on this rather far-fetched dream and achieved something that most of us could never even think of. An Indian man, Suyash Dixit just became the king of a strip of land that falls between Egypt and Sudan. Well, he declared himself as the king but rightfully so. Perplexed? Here is a clearer picture of how exactly he managed to pull this feat. So, the strip of land that Suyash has declared himself to be the king of is in reality an unclaimed area i.e. it belongs to no country. The area is called Bir Tawil and is on the South of Egypt's border and the North of Sudan's border. © Wendover Productions Now, the problem arises because Egypt follows the 1899 border set by the British administration at the time of its colonization however, Sudan follows the 1902 border as its official border. Henceforth, both the countries think that this strip of land belongs to the other country and so, it is an unclaimed piece of land. via GIPHY If this is the perfect portrayal of your current face expression and mood, then we suggest you have a look at this video to understand it better: Coming back to our very own Suyash, he had this all planned to the T. And much to our delight, he explained it all in a Facebook post. He explains his journey, “I traveled 319KM (to and fro) in far desert with no roads to claim this unclaimed land of Bir Tawil. It was an epic journey starting from Abu Simbel at 4 am. I took help from a local driver Mustafa for the car and most part of driving. When I told him about the plan first he thought I am crazy but then he agreed (yeah I paid him a lot). I and Suyog spent 2 nights planning a highly optimised route for my travel where we can take the car.” If you are thinking how easy it is to drive up to that area and claim it as your own, we are going to stop you right there. He explained the dangers involved too, “Just to tell how dangerous this plan was, the route that I took is under Egyptian military (it is an international border) and is an area of terrorists so military have a “shoot at sight” orders. But, if your bucket list ideas are not scary enough then they are not worth trying! And yes you need permissions to even enter the route that takes to this place. We got on 3 conditions, no photos of military areas (which is almost everything), you be back in the single day and you do not carry valuables. We drove for 6 hours straight in the middle of the desert and barren lands and crossing 1 military base to the location.” That's some dedication right there. via GIPHY Now if you are wondering how he claimed the land to be his own, he actually went old school, “Following the early civilization ethics and rule, if you want to claim a land then you need to grow crops on it. I have added a seed and poured some water on it today. It is mine.” © Suyash Dixit He even went ahead got a flag made and hoisted it. © Suyash Dixit And, wait for it, he even got a website for his 'country' which he calls 'Kingdom of Dixit' and is inviting applications for different posts and for citizenship. You can apply for a number of posts such as Foreign Secretary, Home Secretary, Chief Minister et al. But not for Prime Minister and the Head of Military because Suyash himself holds both these posts (DUH!). Here is the full Facebook post: Honestly, we are still a little shocked and maybe a little jealous too. Why don't we ever get such ideas? PS: If you are interested in applying for a post or want to become a citizen (we don't know how legit this is), you can visit here-
  22. TOULOUSE: A man rammed a car into three Chinese students near the French city of Toulouse on Friday, injuring one of them seriously, police sources told AFP. The 28-year-old driver, who was arrested immediately afterwards in the city's Blagnac suburb, acted "deliberately" but was not on a list of known extremists, one source said, asking not to be named. He had previously suffered severe psychiatric problems and was released from a court-ordered hospital stay in December 2016, the Toulouse prosecutor said. The man had about 10 previous convictions, the prosecutor told the BFMTV news channel. The investigation is to be handled by regular judicial police rather than Paris's anti-terror unit, he said. BFMTV said the man was known to police for previous non-terror crimes. All three of Friday's victims, who were on a crosswalk when the ramming occurred, were in their twenties, with a 23-year-old woman the most seriously injured and two men aged 22 and 23 also hurt. The woman's life is not in danger, police said. France has been a victim of a series of vehicle attacks by militants inspired by Daesh, but there was no immediate confirmation of the driver's identity or motive. In July last year, a Tunisian man ploughed a 19-tonne truck into a crowd in the southern city of Nice, killing 86 people. Toulouse in southwest France is the home of the Airbus plane manufacturer.
  23. Asian shares hovered near decade highs on Monday as strong US economic data and corporate earnings supported global stocks while major currencies held in tight ranges as investors focused on US President Donald Trump?s tour of Asia this week. Trump ramped up his tough rhetoric against North Korea as he kicked off a 12-day Asian trip on Sunday, saying the United States and its allies are prepared to defend freedom. The US president wants a united front with the leaders of Japan and South Korea before he visits Beijing to make the case to Chinese President Xi Jinping that more needs to be done to rein in Pyongyang. Trump also plans to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin during his trip. While investors were on edge about the outcome of these high-stake meetings, sentiment has generally been buoyed by upbeat economic data in the United States. ?Global growth is a mature theme, and notably, we have seen real improvement in Europe, while in the US the data is humming along nicely,? said Chris Weston, senior market strategist at I.G. Markets. US non-manufacturing purchasing managers? index rose to its highest level since 2005, figures out on Friday showed. New orders for US-made goods gained for the second straight month in September and orders for core capital goods surpassed expectations. ?The wash-up after all the data flow was a further belief that the US Federal Reserve can lift rates in December,? said Weston. MSCI?s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was a touch softer at 556.39, but within striking distance of Friday?s top of 557.93 which was the highest since November 2007. Australian shares traded around levels not seen since April 2015 at 5,956.90 points while Japan?s Nikkei advanced further to a 21-year peak. Wall Street had a field day again on Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up 0.1 percent, the S&P 500 gaining 0.31 percent and the Nasdaq adding 0.74 percent. Apple Inc gave the biggest boost to each of the three indexes after its stronger-than-expected results on Thursday. Long queues formed outside the company?s stores in Asia and Europe on Friday as fans flocked to buy the new iPhone X, and the US company moved closer to a $1 trillion market capitalization. US tax reform is also going to be a focus with the House Ways and Means Committee allowing amendments to the bill from Monday, while the Senate is expected to release its own version of the bill on Wednesday. The degree of differences between the two bills will set the tone in terms of tax reform expectations. The dollar index, which measures the US dollar against a basket of currencies, held near four-month highs, while the euro trod water to loiter around its lowest since July. Oil rose to the highest in more than two years after US rig data suggested drilling in the United States would throttle back. Brent futures were up 24 cents at $62.31 a barrel, the highest since July 2015. US crude added 16 cents to 55.80. Spot gold was steady at $1269.61 an ounce.
  24. A Saudi prince was killed on Sunday when a helicopter crashed near the kingdom´s southern border with war-torn Yemen, state television said. The news channel Al-Ekhbariya announced the death of Prince Mansour bin Moqren, the deputy governor of Asir province. It said the helicopter had several officials on board and did not reveal the cause of the crash. This is a developing story and will be updated as further reports are received.
  25. DAMASCUS: Syrian government troops and allied fighters captured some of the last parts of Deir Ezzor city from Daesh on Thursday, state media and a monitor said. Syria's army has been battling inside the city since September, when it broke a militant siege of nearly three years on government-held parts of the provincial capital. Syrian state media said Thursday that the army and allied fighters had captured three neighbourhoods in the city, and "tightened the siege" on Daesh fighters in several remaining districts. State news agency SANA said Daesh fighters were using loudspeakers to urge remaining members of the group "not to run away from the fighting, and to kill any member who tried to escape or surrender". The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor also reported the regime advances in the city, provincial capital of surrounding Deir Ezzor, on Syria's eastern border with Iraq. The monitor said Daesh fighters held less than five percent of the city, and government forces were advancing as ally Russia carried out heavy air strikes in support of the offensive. "If the regime's forces succeed in continuing this offensive, they could bring an end to IS´s presence (in the city) in hours or days," the Observatory said. Daesh once held large sections of Deir Ezzor city, and for nearly three years laid siege to other parts of it that remained under government control. In early September, advancing government forces broke the siege, and they have been working since to expel the jihadists from the rest of the city. Oil-rich Deir Ezzor province was once an Daesh stronghold, but the militant group now faces twin assaults there, from the regime and the US-backed Kurdish-Arab Syrian Democratic Forces. The militants have already been expelled from neighbouring Raqqa province, and are now confined to just a few pockets of territory in Deir Ezzor.